Thursday, August 27, 2009


Yesterday when the radio announcer said there was a brush fire burning "in the hills above JPL," I lost a breath. I walk Boz in the wild lands near the Jet Propulsion lab.

Losing a breath is appropriate. Pasadena is once again situated between two brush fires, one in Glendora (the Morris Fire) and one above La Canada Flintridge (the Station Fire). It smells like a camp fire around here. If we didn't have to breathe it in and out all day I'd almost call it pleasant.
Today I went to the Devil's Gate Dam to get a photo of the fire over La Canada Flintridge. Readers of Pasadena Daily Photo might remember another glimpse of the mountain here. That's the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) on the lower right, obviously not threatened by the fire. The winds are moving in the opposite direction. Good news, sorta. That smoke is going away from us but the Glendora smoke is heading here as I type.

I drove over to La Canada Flintridge and up into the hills to get a better look. (The air is worse over there.) The best place I could find in the time I had was on a neighborhood street below the hilltop, under some wires that were buzzing and crackling. I don't know if it had anything to do with the fire. Maybe, maybe not. I could also hear the water-dropping aircraft but I couldn't always see them.

Wait. Let's zoom in on that shot. You still might have to click on it to see.
Sure enough. A helicopter. Seems awfully small to be fighting such a big battle.

The aircraft left to get more water. While they were gone the smoke shifted and billowed. It's beautiful, really. It was hard to tear myself away--from a safe distance, that is.

John took this one on the way home from work. The view is from a corner a little less than a mile from our house. The fire is, I would guess, a good twenty miles away.
Bless those firemen. They are crazy and brave.

Update: the Station Fire subsequently grew to historic proportions and I continued to blog about it on Pasadena Daily Photo.